We have arrived once again. It is the last day of the current year and when we wake up tomorrow morning a new year will have begun. As usual there are many festivities planned all around the world to ring in the new year. My mind can’t help but go back a few years, 13 almost 14 to be exact. The year was 1999. A new millennium was about to begin. There was a lot of excitement, but there was also a lot of fear. There was the “crisis” of what would happen to computers when the year reset to “00?” Microsoft had to come out with a patch to make sure their computers would register a four digit year, because if it simply rolled to “00” the computer would think it was the year 1900, the computer would crash, and you would have lost everything. I’ll save my sarcastic jabs on that on and just enjoy a good laugh to myself. Then you had the “big one.” Many religious people and others predicted that the world would end. There was wild speculation on what would happen, would there be a world war that broke out, would nuclear bombs be dropped, would the world just mysteriously blow up, etc. The vast majority of people simply laughed it off and went about life. Others on the other hand, took it very seriously and prepared. I looked back through some news reports and doomsday bunkers were being built, people were stock piling supplies, and many other things to prepare for what they were convinced was the end of the world. It is in many ways hard to believe that 14 new year’s eves have happened (counting today). Even in the years since the predictions have flown hot and heavy and people continue to prepare physically for the end of the world. This gets me to thinking, if people really feel the world is going to come to an end one day (a view I agree with by the way because it is taught in the Bible), then why aren’t they preparing for what happens the moment after the world ends?
There are at least three main viewpoints concerning that question. The first is people don’t believe the world will really end. This group rejects any and all religious teachings on the subject of the end of times. They simply believe that life will continue on as it always has. The second view is that when the world ends all civilization will cease to exist. This group rejects any belief on an afterlife. They simply view this life as all there is, and once it is over it is over. The final viewpoint is that there is an afterlife, an eternal life that will begin immediately after one leaves this present life. This is the position of the Bible. Many well-intentioned, well-meaning people will disagree on the timing of this, however, I have no intention of diving into that right now (maybe another post). There are two important texts concerning this issue. The first is Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Therefore, any prediction on when Jesus will return or the end of the world is simply foolishness. The second verse is Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, then comes the judgment.” As the saying goes “10 out of 10 people die.” We also see that judgment is a certainty for all mankind in that verse.
Therefore, my question now becomes, how can we be prepared? If we cannot know when it is going to happen, then shouldn’t we prepare as though it is going to happen today? If we are honest with ourselves, many of us are procrastinators, but I’ll talk about that later :). As we barrel towards another stroke of midnight and another new year, I want to ask you, are you prepared for when your life’s clock runs out? The Bible teaches there is only one way to know that for sure, and that is to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Being a Christian isn’t about what you have done or will do, being a Christian is about trusting in what Jesus did. The fact is that Jesus left heaven to come to earth ultimately to lay down His life on the cross as payment for the sins of the world. It is only by trusting in His death that we can be forgiven, have a right standing with God, and know that heaven will be our eternal home. I want to encourage you today, that if you are trusting in anyone, anything, or even nothing other than Jesus to turn and trust Jesus today. Only when you do that can you face every day with confidence and security. You will experience what my grandfather use to always say, “I’m a winner either way. If I wake up tomorrow I win, but if I die tonight I win.” If you need more information about how to make this life changing decision, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or the office phone which is 540-721-8784.
Please be safe tonight. Remember, God is not obligated to make up for or protect us from our bad choices! On behalf of the Westlake Baptist staff and church family, Happy New Year to you and your family.
By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him